The first night of Hanukah was last night.  Our family tradition (which I followed strictly as a Jewish child growing up in the suburbs and dutifully passed onto my boys) is to light the candles after dinner and then run, screaming in anticipation to the family room sofa, where you sit very close together with your eyes squeezed shut and your arms outstretched.  The words “gimmee, gimmee, gimme” are never spoken but conveyed in a greedy spiritual kind of way.  Mother then scurries off to the “secret” hiding place, which the kids have known about for weeks, and selects the presents for that evening.

On the first of these eight holy nights, when we are reminded of the miracle that took place and saved our ancestors so many years ago, Dave and I gave the boys… knives.

Of course, we first gave them each a block of wood to whittle.  Nothing gives a parent more joy than to watch their child open a piece of wood for Hanukah.  The expression of total anguish on their faces (“This is our present?”) will keep Dave and I warm all winter long.  I even let it go on for a while, insisting that I thought they might like to “color” the piece of wood as an “activity”.

But alas the pocket knives came out and they bolted to the basement to begin their creations.  Dave and I sat at the table drinking coffee and listened to their excited chatter below which inevitably escalated into trash talk and finally, accusations.  At that point, I got my Hanukah present – something I always have a use for:  The Big Giant I TOLD YOU SO.  As the screams made their way up the basement stairs I turned to my husband and smiled:

“And now they have weapons.”

Peace on earth.  Seven nights to go.

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